The Strangford MLA said: “This budget will not deliver free personal care for older people, despite the fact that the Assembly voted on May 29 this year to introduce it in the 2008 -2009 budget. This is a real let down and is massive missed opportunity to deliver the services local people deserve.
“People want to see free personal care introduced as soon as possible; however, it would appear that this Executive might never deliver it. Alliance as the opposition will continue to keep pressing the Executive until they do what local people want.
“In the Assembly on the May 15 this year, members agreed that an action plan and timescale for the implementation of the Bamford Review must be produced. This budget will not give us the chance to implement Bamford and will not deliver the much needed improvements to local mental health services. We want a world class healthcare system for a new Northern Ireland. The Executive obviously does not share our vision.
“The important Homestart scheme and Link Family Community Group will also suffer because the Executive is doing away with the children and young people’s fund and passing responsibility over to the Department of Health, which is already stretched to breaking point.
“Will this Executive ever make the funds available for free personal care and to make the necessary improvements to local mental health services?
“I firmly believe that this budget will put our health services under real strain and the public are well aware of this. It will be interesting to see whether the Health Minister Michael McGimpsey and his Executive colleague Reg Empey can bring themselves to vote to support this budget when the final decision is made further down the line. They, as well as the Finance Minister are under real pressure because something has gone seriously wrong in the Executive over the future health budget.”